Is it just me or is anybody else uneasy about the direction the search for a new international soccer manager has gone? There seems to be a mindset about the place that it is up to us to convince certain people that they could do a lot worse than come and work for the FAI.

Last weekend, it emerged that John Giles was so concerned that Paul Jewell might not apply that, with the permission of John Delaney of the FAI, he actually went to meet Jewell to tell him about the positives aspects of the job.

Well, excuse me if I sound snotty, but, as far as I am concerned, the boot should be on the other foot and eligible managers should be contacting us seeking an interview for the job. Surely, if they have to be told how good the Irish job would be for their careers, it means they don’t know as much as they should. I want to see a good manager in charge but one who is actually eager to do the job not somebody who will do us a favour by agreeing to help us out and take our money.

As far as I am concerned, the FAI should go about filling the job in the professional time-proven way. If they don’t want to actually head-hunt a particular individual, then they should advertise the position and interview the best of the people that apply. It’s the way that most successful companies operate and the top people who apply don’t need to be told about the organisation they are applying to, or about the job itself, they will have already done their homework.

Skimmers are still finding victims

We’ve all read and heard about it a hundred times yet, according to recent reports, skimmers are still stealing large amounts of money through ATM machines.

Two weeks ago, skimmers targeted an ATM machine in New Ross and managed to steal money from the accounts of about eighty customers. It would appear that the criminals had their device in place for just a few hours but that was enough to get them a considerable haul believed to be in the region of €50,000.

The same scam has been operated in lots of towns throughout the country and it may well be the same gang that took almost €3000 from one young man’s account via an ATM machine in Carlow. The man’s SSIA money had gone into his account just before his card was skimmed and the thieves withdrew €700 a day for four days before the victim discovered what was happening when he randomly checked his balance.

The most common version of the scam is that the criminals attach a device to the ATM’s entry slot that records the magnetic strip details. The pin number is then captured via a small camera or even by somebody looking over the user’s shoulder. So, please be careful.

A dirty business!

A business man appeared in Drogheda District Court last week and was convicted as charged but, I suspect, many readers will have some sympathy for his plight.

Businessman Orlandi Giancarlo runs a well known restaurant in Drogheda and he was fined €1500 for destroying a number of rooks’ nests at his private address in Termonfeckin.

Judge Flann Brennan was told that rooks were nesting in trees that overhung the defendant’s house. The birds’ droppings were continually falling on his head and on his clothes and he had to wash his car several times a day such was the rate of fire from the birds. “No one knows what it is like to live with thirty nests over your head. It’s like living in a prison. Every time I went outside the birds bombed my head and the ongoing noise is awful. I couldn’t live with it anymore”, he said.

Defence solicitor Finian Branigan said his client had been at his wits end and did not realize he was doing anything wrong when he cut down a number of branches overhanging his house on his own property.

Conservation ranger, Kieran Buckley, told the court he had inspected Mr. Giancarlo’s home and grounds and found that nine rooks’ nests had been destroyed and twelve eggs smashed after a number of branches had been cut from a tree.

Judge Brennan imposed a fine of €500 in respect of three wildlife offences.

Kerry musings on GAA ‘pay for play’

There has been a lot of talk recently about the Gaelic Players Association and the whole subject of ‘pay for play’ and, last week, a front-page story and comment piece in The Kerryman newspaper had more than a few tongues wagging across the country.

In a nutshell, it would appear that our friends in The Kingdom feel slightly above the current goings-on and only want to get involved, with a long barge-poll, if they really have to. The Kerryman report says the county’s footballers will support strike action by the Gaelic Players Association if necessary but they would be reluctant to do so because they are more interested in football than money.

Unlike elsewhere, the mood in the Kerry GAA camp is far from militant, says the newspaper, and the All Ireland champions are not breaking down the gates of Croke Park to lead the GAA brigade into action. County Board Chairman, Sean Walsh, told the newspaper the treatment given to Kerry players in terms of holidays, expenses and medical coverage meant they had less reason than others to want to down jersey and refuse to play next year.

Three-time All Star, Tomas O Se, said the GPA players in the Kerry squad would probably go with the flow if the issue was pushed but the Kerry players were looked after extremely well and no player ever had any cause to go looking for money.

In its editorial, the writer refers to the issue of player payment, be it through Croke Park or government grant, as murky and contentious. He/she concedes that there may be a sense of grievance in some quarters that inter-county footballers and hurlers are losing out but, as far as the situation in Kerry is concerned, nothing could be further from the truth.

‘The bottom line is that the currency that counts most in Kerry is All Ireland medals and no amount money could ever equate to the value of a Celtic Cross. If it ever comes to be that money is handed out, Kerry players will rightly and gladly take their share but they will still have more All Ireland medals in their pockets than the rest’, concludes the writer on an optimistic note.

We see ourselves not as others see us!

Pat and Mary are a hermit-like couple who live in a run-down cottage in a small, hidden valley in the Comeragh Mountains. Mary is originally from the Nire Valley but married Pat after his parents died and he was able to offer her a home. Both are a bit odd and, though they get on well enough, there is no shortage of friction in their lives as they eat, live and sleep in each other’s pockets.

There were not blessed with children so they get on with their farm work every day never seeing another soul for months on end. The cottage is no different to the way it was a hundred years ago so there is no electricity or modern conveniences. Neither do they go in for any old codology regarding personal appearance and there is not even a hand-mirror in the house. Amazingly, Pat and Mary have not knowingly seen an image or reflection of themselves since they were photographed by Annie Brophy in Waterford after they were married nearly forty years ago.

Recently, Pat had to come into Waterford city to see about registering for his old-age pension and he was amazed at all the changes there were. The last time he was there, Arundel Square was a hive of activity but all the old shops were gone and he found himself wandering about in the new-fangled City Square Shopping Centre.

Tip-toeing around Dunnes Store with some trepidation, he picked up an item from a display that turned out to be a mirror about the size of an A4 sheet of paper. He nearly lost his standuppance when he saw his father’s face staring back at him. “Mother of Divine God”, he thought, “how come they have a picture of my father.” He looked at the mirror again and, sure enough, his father’s face was still looking back at him.

Pat purchased the ‘picture of his father’ to take home to show Mary and he was in Leamybrien when it dawned on him that Mary never got on with his father and, in fact, she never even went to his funeral when he died. Still, he was pleased with the ‘picture’ so he decided he would hang it up in the barn where Mary would never see it and he could look at it any time he wanted.

But, of course, Pat is a creature of habit and Mary soon noticed that his normal routine was often interrupted and that he was creeping into the barn when he thought she wasn’t looking. She bided her time and, when she knew Pat was working in the top field, she went to the barn and soon found the ‘picture’ hanging on the wall. She gazed into it and then cried out in anguish. “I knew it, Pat has a new feckin’ women in his life and, to make it worse, she’s a right ugly bitch.”